Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2014

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.It’s officially the start of the holiday season and there are plenty of things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Just because it’s getting cold, it doesn’t mean there aren’t outdoor activities to enjoy. Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you.

Saturday, November 1 – Sunday, November 2: Gather your gals and treat yourselves to the best local shopping, fashion, travel, entertainment, food, and much more at the New Jersey Women’s Expo at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft)! This weekend-long showcase will feature the best products, services, and attractions created especially for women from 11am-5pm. $7 for adults and children 7 and under are FREE! For more information, click on the link above.

Friday, November 7 – Sunday, November 16: Plan a date night (or two), it’s time for Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! Enjoy a 3-course meal with your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert for either $20.14 or $30.14. Click here to see a list of participating restaurants and their menus. For more information, contact Jennifer Flynn at jennifer@jerseyshoreresaurantweek.com.

Saturday, November 15: Go green! It’s Paper Shredding Day for Monmouth County residents at Brielle Borough Hall (601 Union Lane) from 9am-1pm to get rid of old documents and confidential files safely. For more information call 732-683-8686, ext. 6721.

Saturday, November 22: The Manasquan Annual Turkey Run is here just in time for Thanksgiving. Runners can choose to run 1 mile or 5 miles for just $30 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under (special price if purchased before 11/9). For wave times and additional information, call 732-223-8303.

Friday, November 28: It’s time for Red Bank’s 20th Annual Holiday Concert & Tree Lighting Ceremony to kick off the the holiday season! Bring the whole family to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays starting at 7pm. The Santa Express Train will go from Little Silver to Red Bank, followed by a parade from Red Bank Train Station down Monmouth Street, to end at the Holiday Express concert on Broad Street for the annual town lighting! For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Saturday, November 29th: Help rebuild the shore at Belmar’s 3rd Annual Freeze Out! This town-wide music festival will feature the best in local entertainment. The event will be held from 4pm-8pm with other activities following afterwards. This year for a $20 donation, you will receive two drink tickets and a food ticket (buffet will be held from 6pm-8pm) from participating bar/restaurants: Bar Anticipation, Boathouse Bar & Grill, Connolly Station, Jack’s Tavern, 507 Main @ Shark River, and Klein’s Fish Market & Waterside Cafe. For more information call, 732-681-3700 ext. 214. 

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the start of the holiday season!

Down to Business: Merchant Services

Merchant-Services-Product-Page-Photo

A professional on his lunch break walks down to a local eatery and enjoys a turkey club with avocado lime spread and a crisp dill pickle spear on the side. For twenty minutes out of his busy day he is calm, and he can already feel the tired 2 o’clock feeling coming on. He reaches for his credit card, swipes and in an instant his tab is settled. Let’s focus on that instant… blip… that instant when funds are transferred from consumer to merchant.

To break it down; the customer swipes his card through the terminal to pay $10.00 for his lunch. The terminal reads who the customer is and contacts the bank that issued the card. The bank at this point, must make a decision on whether or not to pay the merchant. Could the transaction be fraudulent? Are there funds available? Upon approval, the consumer’s bank sends $10.00 to the merchant’s bank, and then the bank deposits $9.80 into the merchant’s account. That $0.20 is sent back to the consumer’s bank and it is then split five times: with the issuing credit or debit card company at a predetermined rate, the issuing credit card brand (i.e. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.), the processing company, then to an ISO selling the processing (if applicable), and finally, it is split for the last time if there is an independent contractor selling the processing for the ISO. We’re certainly not splitting the atom, but this is getting eerily close to nuclear fission.

At the end of each business day, all of the credits and fees are tallied by the processing company. After about 2 business days, the settlement is deposited into the merchant’s bank account. The processing fees are typically debited from the merchant’s account 3-5 days after the end of the month. Phew – that is quite the process! Why would a processing company go through all of this effort for pennies on the dollar… or sometimes fractions of a penny? Why would a business pay to have customers pay them?

Market trends and statistics provide an overwhelming answer to these questions.   According to Javelin Research, in 2011 only 27% of all in person sales were made with cash. According to the SEC in 2011 – $17,782,000,000,000.00 were spent using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club. When you start to take small percentages of nearly 18 trillion dollars, it becomes clear just how lucrative this business can be. For the business owner, according to Ari Shapiro of NPR, consumers purchase 40% more when they shop with a credit card vs. cash. Many interesting clinical psychological studies break down the why behind this.

So what does all of this mean for our small businesses? Well, with so many entities fighting for a slice of the dollar, the competition among merchant services providers is stiff. Given the dynamic nature of the industry, loyalty, transparency and honest hardworking member service are hard to find. Perform your due diligence and interview various clients to see just what kind of service is actually provided. A few minutes now will pay dividends later!

If you’re interesting in merchant services for your business, you’re in luck! First Financial has a new processor who provides great service and excellent rates. If you would like more information on merchant services or business products and services, contact Business Development Manager, Matthew Brazinski, at 732.312.1421 or simply leave a comment below! 

*Sources: Psychology Today, Nerd Wallet, Huffington Post, and Host Merchant Services.

Learn How to “Get Your Business Off the Right Way” at this FREE Seminar in November 2014

pplDo you have a new business or looking to start one and want to learn some best practices to get your company off the ground? Attend this upcoming free seminar on 11/5 presented by SCORE counselor, Joe Wasilewski and learn how to get your business plan together, tax and accounting advice, and so much more!

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • Business Formation Process in NJ; LLC vs Partnership vs Corporation
  • Accounting and Tax Issues for the Start Up Business
  • Business Plan Preparation and Steps

Join us on Wednesday, November 5th at 6pm for our free “Get Your Business Off the Right Way” Seminar presented by CPA, Joe Wasilewski, of the SCORE Association. The seminar will be held at First Financial’s Corporate Office located at 1800, Rt. 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302, Wall, NJ. Space is limited – register below.

Register Now!

The SCORE Association is a national nonprofit organization with a public service mission to maximize the success of America’s existing and emerging small businesses. SCORE’s 10,500 members provide client counseling and training through a network of 389 chapters, 800 branches, and a national as well as individual chapter Web sites. SCORE has been a resource partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA) since 1964. Their volunteer members, who are both retired, or actively engaged in their business or profession, have many years of experience to bring to bear on helping to create stronger more profitable businesses.

First Financial FCU Hosts First NJ Retirement Fair for Staff at Asbury Park High School

PRESS RELEASE

APHS

(photo of Asbury park high school)

Wall, N.J. – Going back to the building where it was founded, First Financial Federal Credit Union brought an informative and interactive new Retirement Fair program to the staff of Asbury Park High School last month, which also happened to be the first ever Retirement Fair held in New Jersey. Throughout the day, teachers visited the library during their professional development period to learn whether they could afford the same lifestyle they are currently living once they retire, based on retirement scenarios.

The Retirement Fair was a hands-on experience where educators were provided a worksheet and then visited individual lifestyle stations such as health and fitness, food and clothing, travel and entertainment – and were given a calculation based upon a series of short questions. Once the teachers visited each station, they added their calculations and compared them to the national average to see if their current retirement savings plan was in the right place or if it needed to be adjusted.

First Financial’s Business Development Manager, Matthew Brazinski, and Investment & Retirement Center Coordinator, Samantha Schertz, gave a brief history of the credit union, explaining how it was founded right there, in the halls of Asbury Park High School in 1936. In the debriefing after the station visits, Mary LaFerriere, Financial Advisor with CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., reviewed the experience with the group, pointing out the various components of retirement to keep in mind, including inflation, debt, expenditures, investments, and more. The participants were then able to schedule an appointment with the credit union’s Investment & Retirement Center if they wished to delve deeper into retirement planning or had questions about their results.

”Retirement planning is one of the top priorities for our members here at First Financial, and we were honored to be the first in the state to host this Retirement Fair event at Asbury Park High School – the very location in which we began nearly 80 years ago,” said Issa Stephan, President/CEO at First Financial. “We hope the educators who attended realize the importance of planning and saving for retirement, and if they need help or advice – they have somewhere local to go, to help them achieve their dream goals and lifestyle.”

The National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions Program in cooperation with CUNA Mutual Group have developed this new Retirement Fair program to assist credit unions in helping their members better prepare for retirement. The fair is an interactive learning experience, similar to the popular Financial Reality Fair program offered through the New Jersey Credit Union League Foundation.

Learn “How To Drive Your Business Forward So It Doesn’t Drive You Into The Ground” at this FREE Seminar in October 2014

drivingbizforwardsemHave you ever been on a 1st date, it went well – but you didn’t have a 2nd one because there was something missing? This is the same with your marketing. Marketing is a function of creating a true emotional connection, not just posting flyers and social media updates. Join us for a FREE and interactive seminar presented by Jack Gottlieb, President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc.

Learn how to use marketing strategy to drive your business forward, including:

  • How to build a marketing approach/strategy that drives your business
  • Build a brand that creates the connection you want that transitions to the opportunity you want to have
  • Implement a system that will allow you to balance working on your business and still achieve sustainable results

Join us on Tuesday, October 28th at 8:30am for networking and a light breakfast followed by our seminar, “How To Drive Your Business Forward So It Doesn’t Drive You Into The Ground.” The seminar will be held at First Financial’s Corporate Office located at 1800, Rt. 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302, Wall, NJ. Space is limited – register below.

Register Now!

Jack Gottlieb is the President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. a strategic consulting, training and coaching firm committed to driving a sustainable increase to an organization’s results, value proposition and culture. Jack brings 14 years of proven high level success along with the collective capability of his team and advisory board. Jack has also been one of the highest ranked speakers at various state wide SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) Annual Conferences as well as the New Jersey Organizational Development Annual Conferences for the past 7 years. Jack also serves on the Executive Board Collegiate Empowerment which is an educational firm committed to driving systemic change and impact for Colleges and Universities. Jack also is actively involved with two universities. The first is Kutztown University where he is one of the key leaders of the College of Business Advisory Board to support their efforts in further development and expansion. The second is with Rider University with their Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.

Learn Credit Management & Debt Reduction at this FREE Seminar in October 2014

credit:debtseminarAre you interested in improving your credit score, paying down debt, and saving money in order to get your finances on track? If so, allow the experts at First Financial to provide you with insightful information to help you manage your credit & debt in this free seminar.

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • What affects your credit score
  • What makes up your credit score and how to improve it
  • How to budget and cut spending
  • How to promptly pay off debt

This FREE Credit Management & Debt Management Seminar will begin at 6:00pm on Thursday, October 23rd at First Financial’s Neptune Branch. The seminar will teach attendees ways to keep their credit score where it should be in just a few simple steps. The seminar is located at 783 Wayside Road (Off Route 66) in Neptune. Register today, space is limited. 

Register Now!